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Multimedia Bibliography- Children Writing Poetry

Many adults know how difficult it is to get some children to read poetry, but what about writing it?  What resources are available for that adult trying to help a child complete an English assignment, or just develop a deeper appreciation of poetry?  The intent of this multimedia bibliography is to be a guide for adults working with school age children and provide some tools that can help when a child wants to write his or her own poem.  While the main topic of this guide is helping children write poetry, many teachers and poets have pointed out that an appreciation of poetry comes from just being exposed to it—hearing it, speaking it, reading it, and writing it.  For that reason, this guide will also include some resources that are simply related to poetry, not necessarily being about writing poetry.


Behn, Robin, and Chase Twichell, eds. The Practice of Poetry: Writing Exercises From Poets Who Teach. 296p. CollinsReference, 1992.

This book of poetry writing exercises is described by Norton as giving “strong reasons for using poetry writing exercises with anyone who wants to improve his or her writing,” and Norton also states that it is a good source to use for elementary and middle grades.  There are exercises to help with “understanding of language and abstract thoughts,” “enhance the visualization of images in a poem,” and “poetry writing exercises associated with photography” (Donna E. Norton, Through the Eyes of a Child).

Dunning, Stephen, and William Stafford. Getting the Knack: 20 Poetry Writing Exercises. 203p. National Council of Teachers of English, 1992.

Norton calls this book an “excellent source of ideas and suggestions for exercises in poetry writing…Each of the exercises includes an introduction, steps to follow, and examples of poems that were written using the writing exercise” (Donna E. Norton, Through the Eyes of a Child).

Fletcher, Ralph. Poetry Matters: Writing a Poem From the Inside Out. 160p. HarperTrophy, 2002.

TeachingBooks.net lists Poetry Matters as a resource for teachers when working with children on writing poetry.  Fletcher has split the book into two parts—Lighting the Flame and Nurturing the Spark.  He talks about the importance of poetry, and gives the reader practical ways to start writing poetry, such as keep it short and use your senses to capture the world around you.  Fletcher also goes into playing with the words and some of the technicalities of poetry.  This book is a good, brief source that covers many aspects of writing poetry.

Janeczko, Paul B. A Kick in the Head: An Everyday Guide to Poetic Forms. Illus. by Chris Raschka. 64p. Candlewick, 2009.

Earning a starred review in Booklist, the reviewer describes A Kick in the Head as an “excellent selection [that] easily mixes works by Shakespeare and William Blake with entries from contemporary poets for youth, including Janeczko.” This guide contains brief explanations of the poem form, an introduction, and appended notes.  “This is the introduction that will ignite enthusiasm. The airy spaces between the words and images will invite readers to find their own responses to the poems and encourage their interest in the underlying rules, which, Janeczko says, ‘make poetry–like sports–more fun’” (Gillian Engberg, Booklist). Read more…

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